Russian ISS robot Fedor trades in gun on Earth for electric drill in space

The humanoid robot is staying busy on the ISS under close cosmonaut supervision.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

Fedor looks right at home on the ISS.


I would totally watch a TV show called "That's So Fedor." Russian space agency Roscosmos launched a Skybot F-850 humanoid robot named Fedor to the International Space Station, and actually trusted it with an electric drill. 

Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, Fedor's handler, looks pretty chill about the whole thing in a video posted to Fedor's own Twitter account on Tuesday. We're seeing the action from the robot's point of view as it grips the drill. It willingly gives the tool to Ovchinin near the end of the footage.

Normally, I'd be all for having a humanoid robot on the ISS. It's just that the Skybot has a bit of a weird past after it starred in a 2017 video showing it fire a couple of handguns at some targets. Disturbing much?

Roscosmos is taking Fedor for a test drive as a possible assistant for space exploration missions. The robot can dare to tread in places where humans won't want to go. 

Fedor's original arrival hit a minor delay with the docking of its uncrewed spacecraft last week. This will only be a brief vacation for the robot, which is scheduled to return to Earth in early September.

Fedor seems to be firmly under Ovchinin's command, which is good news for everyone on board the ISS. We don't want to end up with Westworld in space.

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Originally published Sept. 3, 9:51 a.m. PT.